Whew.  What a ride!

People always assure you that there’s a lot of time (and money) involved in planning a wedding. And, while I believed it to a certain extent, I certainly didn’t expect to spend this much time (and, yes, money) trying to figure out one day in our life.

So far, Kelly and I have had a number of successes and an equal amount of failures in sticking to our wedding budget goals.  Although the priorities outlined in the first Staying in Love have helped guide our experience, keeping on track and maintaining a reasonable wedding bill hasn’t been easy. Thankfully, we have families who are generous and supportive.

That said, we will still end up spending a good chunk of change.  With our savings starting to deteriorate early in our venture, we looked into ways in which we can loosen our budget and hold on to some of our cash, for at least the time being.  So far, we’ve had success with:

Refinancing: An often missed opportunity to loosen up a budget is by refinancing.  By re-evaluating our car loan, we were able to significantly reduce our monthly payment, and our interest rate, which freed up more money in our monthly budget! If you’re in need of more cash in your pocket, check into refinancing options for any existing loans you might have.

Debt consolidation: Student loans are a fact of life for my generation. Kelly and I are no different; we have plenty of school debt to repay. While our federal loans have been manageable, it’s the private loans which have proven to be the biggest burden. Luckily, some financial organizations have caught on to this dilemma and are beginning to offer solutions.  Similar to refinancing, we were able to take private loan debt, reduce interest and minimize our payments!

Credit cards:  I’ve never been a proponent of teaser rates often reserved for credit card mailings. We all know these – the brightly colored envelopes decorated with a large “0%” for a specified period of time, only to increase to a much higher, likely variable interest rate after.  In fact, I usually advise members to steer clear of teaser rates as they can lead to “bad debt” accumulation. 

Well, for the first time in my life, I ceded to this opportunity. But, here’s why: I need flexibility for a very specific amount of time and don’t want to pay interest if I need to leave a balance on my card.  So, I decided to apply for a credit card that offered me 0% interest until after my wedding, knowing that we will only need this card for certain transactions, and we have planned to have enough in savings to cover any balance on this card after the wedding. 

After digging through our collective finances and doing a bit of restructuring, we’ve been able to save hundreds of extra dollars per month for our party.  Planning within the confines of our budget just got a bit easier, which means stress levels remain low, and yes, we are still starry-eyed!